A selective critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
Connecting (8/7c, NBC): There's no question that this sitcom is of the moment, depicting a gabby gaggle of L.A. friends staying in touch via Zoom-like computer technology during the months of sheltering in place in pandemic times. The problem with Connecting is that it doesn't make much of a case, beyond the not-quite-novelty of its gimmick, that you'd ever want to hang out with these characters in or out of doors. The main storyline, if there is one, involves young, single Annie (Otmara Marrero) trying to muster up the courage to invite young, newly-single-again Ben (Preacher Lawson) to move in with her, since they're both going crazy with loneliness during self-isolation. Among their neurotic Zoom bubble are a married couple, a trans bohemian facing financial hardship, and for actual laughs, a gay dad (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's Parvesh Cheena) who's desperately trying to find a few moments of peace away from his rowdy off-camera kids. There are some poignant touches amid the irreverent and forced humor, especially when they make contact with a first-responder friend currently on the opposite coast. Too often, though, this feels like eavesdropping on conversations that aren't as interesting as the ones many of us have had during our own virtual happy hours.
Star Trek: Lower Decks (streaming on CBS All Access): An unusually action-packed season finale of the animated comedy spinoff finds the Cerritos in more turmoil than usual, and not just because eager-beaver Brad (Jack Quaid) has discovered Mariner's (Tawny Newsome) secret — that she's the daughter of the Captain (Dawnn Lewis). So much for flying under the radar, especially when the latest crisis impels Capt. Freeman to turn to her rebellious offspring for help: "I need a dangerous, half-baked solution that breaks Starfleet rules and totally p—sses me off!" Even by Trek's self-reflective standards, the callbacks to past icons are awfully satisfying.
Supernatural (9/8c, The CW): It's the beginning of the end — again — for the long-running horror show, returning from a six-month hiatus with the final episodes of its 15th season, airing through Nov. 19. The Winchester brothers, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) are still indefatigably facing threats from paranormal entities, this time a wood nymph (Meagen Fey) living in the bunker.
Closer Look Thursday (8:30/7:30c, NBC): Seth Meyers brings his signature Late Night segment of biting commentary, A Closer Look, forward a few hours in a prime-time special from Rockefeller Center's Studio 8G. He's going to have plenty to say, given that the events of the past week could and someday will fill a miniseries.
Inside Thursday TV: A tasty Halloween treat comes to Food Network in a special black-and-white episode of Good Eats in which Alton Brown tells the story of The House that Dripped Chocolate (9/8c), all about a cursed 100-year-old cookbook whose recipes are frighteningly odd, but tasty… Among the streaming highlights: Peacock's penchant for British imports continues with the comedic crime fantasy Code 404, a slapstick twist on a buddy comedy in which elite cop Daniel Mays' tragic death is remedied when he's resurrected as a cyborg, albeit with very glitchy tech. Stephen Graham (Line of Duty) plays his harried partner… The HBO Max film Charm City Kings stars Meek Mill as Blax, the leader of Baltimore dirt-bike gang The Midnight Clique, who takes young Mouse (Di'Allo Winston) under his wing.
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